Texas Tech Gets Winning Culture Started With Thriller Against Houston
The Texas Tech offense started quickly against the University of Houston, getting the opening kickoff and working down the field to the red zone with ease. Once the Red Raiders got to the red zone, however, the offense seized up and the team had to settle for a short field goal. Texas Tech would take the lead, 3-0.
The Texas Tech defense would shine early and often, forcing a punt, creating a fumble, and forcing another punt on their first three drives. Unfortunately, the Texas Tech offense couldn't do much with the opportunities those turnovers created. It looked like 3-0 might be the final for a majority of the first half before Houston got a short field and converted a 24-yard FG to tie the game.
QB Donovan Smith and the Red Raiders would respond immediately with a touchdown drive that took 1:07 and ended with a Nehemiah Martinez touchdown — his first as a Red Raider.
Houston would punt back to Texas Tech, who missed a FG in return.
The Cougars would fail on a 4th down conversion with just under a minute to go, but that would be plenty of time for Smith to connect with Myles Price over the middle for a 54-yard touchdown to cap off a four-play drive.
Texas Tech entered halftime with a 17-3 lead and all the momentum in the world. Cougars’ QB Clayton Tune destroyed that momentum in the first minute and a half of the second quarter with a deep bomb to Tank Dell to get the Cougars inside the 10-yard line. Brian Campbell would clean it up a few plays later with a two-yard touchdown.
The defenses would own the rest of the 3rd quarter.
In the 4th quarter, the Houston defense would even up the game with a pick-six by DE D'Anthony Jones. It was a turnover that came right after a Reggie Pearson interception that seemingly turned the game in Texas Tech's favor. The pick-six certainly turned the game toward Houston.
Another missed FG by Texas Tech would give Houston a chance late in the 4th quarter. They would punt right back to Texas Tech, but a block in the back would pin Texas Tech deep into their own territory. Smith would launch a 3rd down pass into the atmosphere and it would land in enemy hands.
Houston kicked a FG a few plays later. Game over, right?
Not so fast.
Smith, in the midst of a terrible second half, would break off a huge run and complete two passes to set up a 47-yard field goal for Trey Wolff.
A quick note on Wolff. As a freshman in 2019, Wolff won the job and was incredible, making 20 of 22 field goals and 40 of 41 extra points. In 2020, he got the yips, went 1 of 5, and lost the job to Jonathan Garibay, who held the job through 2021. Wolff hung around and has been splitting time with Gino Garcia this season.
After a make and a miss, he stepped up to the ball and missed the kick from 47. Good thing Dana Holgorsen tried to ice him with a timeout. After play resumed, Wolff nailed it from 47 and Texas Tech was headed to overtime.
In overtime, Houston won the toss and elected to go for it. A Houston holding penalty pushed the Cougars back, but a Dell reception on second down put them into a 3rd and short, which they converted on their way to a Tune touchdown pass to open overtime.
In the Red Raiders' response, Smith took a sack. Then messed around and got into a 4th and 21 hole. With the odds stacked against him, Smith completed a clutch pass to Jerand Bradley for 22 yards. Smith then gave it to Tahj Brooks until he scored a touchdown to tie it up at 27.
In the second overtime, an incredible stand inside the 15 from the Texas Tech defense held Houston to a field goal. Score: 30-27.
Donovan Smith would complete a pass or two, then scramble to his left from the 9-yard line to put the game on ice, 33-30.
Smith finished 36 of 57 for 351 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. But at the end of the first half, the end of the second half, and in overtime, he made the plays he needed to and won the game.
Houston, for the majority of the game, looked like the better team. But when Texas Tech needed a play, Donovan Smith answered the call. It was a culture win for the Red Raiders, who've lost heartbreaker after heartbreaker in the last decade. Overcoming bad football plays has been an impossible task in Lubbock, but the tide is turning with Joey McGuire at the helm.
The team should reflect the head coach, and that's exactly what you saw against Houston.
Joey McGuire has won wherever he's been. Now he's winning in Lubbock.
Highlights: Texas Texas vs Houston (September 10th, 2022)